15.8 - Residential Development

New residential development in the city mainly comprises of apartment schemes with some limited residential housing schemes. This section sets out the general requirements for residential development followed by more specific guidance for apartments, Build to Rent, student accommodation and houses.

While the minimum standards set within these sections will be sought in relation to refurbishment schemes, it is acknowledged that this may not always be possible, particularly in relation to historic buildings, ‘living over the shop’ projects, tight urban infill developments and in the city regeneration area designated under the Living City Initiative. In such cases, the standards may be relaxed subject to the provision of good quality accommodation, and where the proposal secures the effective usage of underutilised accommodation. It must be satisfactorily demonstrated that the internal design and overall layout is closely aligned to the specific needs of the intended occupiers.

15.8.1 Quality/Making Sustainable Neighbourhoods

As outlined in Chapter 5: Quality Housing and Sustainable Neighbourhoods’, it is an aim of Dublin City Council to encourage and foster living at sustainable urban densities through the creation of attractive sustainable neighbourhoods which promote and facilitate the provision of the 15-minute city through healthy placemaking and the delivery of high quality housing served by local services. Section 5.5.3 of the plan sets out guidance in relation to the essential requirements for sustainable communities including healthy placemaking and the 15 minute city.

Proposals should have regard to the following guidelines in the making of sustainable neighbourhoods, as well as the principles and key characteristics of a good neighbourhood including ‘Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities: Design Guidelines’ (2007), ‘Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ (2009) and accompanying ‘Urban Design Manual (2010)’, Local Area Plans - Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2013), NTA Permeability Best Practice Guide (2015), Sustainable Urban Housing; Design Standards for New Apartments (2020) Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (2019) and Design Manual for Quality Housing (2022).

This section sets out guidance on qualitative, quantitative, and development management criteria for sustainable neighbourhood infrastructure and residential developments.

15.8.2 Community and Social Audit

Community facilities, such as local parks and playgrounds, community centres, local hubs, schools, childcare are an integral component of a successful neighbourhood. Applications for large residential developments or mixed use developments should include provision for community type uses. All residential applications comprising of 50 or more units shall include a community and social audit to assess the provision of community facilities and infrastructure within the vicinity of the site and identify whether there is a need to provide additional facilities to cater for the proposed development. Each of the subsections below shall be assessed as part of the community and social audit.

A community and social audit should address the following:

  • Identify the existing community and social provision in the surrounding area covering a 750m radius.
  • Assess the overall need in terms of necessity, deficiency, and opportunities to share/ enhance existing facilities based on current and proposed population projections.
  • Justify the inclusion or exclusion of a community facility as part of the proposed development having regard to the findings of the audit.


Where it is determined that new facilities are required the following design criteria should be considered:

  • The design of the facility should allow for multi-functional use.
  • Community facilities must be located so that they are conveniently accessible by both residents and others who may have reason to use the facility.
  • Community facilities should be well integrated with pedestrian and cycle routes and, where they serve a wider community, located on or close to a quality public transport route.
  • Re-development proposals on sites containing a pre-existing community use / and / or recreational use should ensure that this use in terms of floor / ground space is no less than that on-site prior to redevelopment, and if possible, should represent increased provision.
  • Community facilities must be accessible to all members of society including persons with disabilities and the elderly.

15.8.3 Schools

In accordance with the requirements for social and community audit, planning applications for over 50 dwellings shall be accompanied by a report identifying the demand for school places likely to be generated and the capacity of existing schools in the vicinity to cater for such demand. In the case of very large-scale developments (800+ units), the phased completion of the dwellings must be linked with the provision of new schools. In determining an application for a school, the following shall be considered:

  • Compliance with the Department of Education and the Department of Environment, Heritage, Community and Local Government’s Joint Code of Practice.
  • Compliance with current Department of Education Technical Guidance documents available at: https://www.education.ie/en/School-Design/Technical-Guidance-Documents/
  • Compliance with Department of Education and Skills “Education for Sustainability” The National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland, 2014-2020 and any successor document.
  • Ensure that school sites are fit-for purpose in terms of their location, access to services and the provision of space for recreational and sports activities which can help to support an effective learning and development environment for children.
  • Seek to situate new schools within the existing/proposed catchment in a manner that aids ease of access from surrounding areas and encourages sustainable mobility by walking, cycling and public transport.
  • Consider the use of multi-campus schooling arrangements in appropriate cases, e.g. 2 or 3 schools side-by-side; a primary and a post-primary school sharing a site; with schools anchoring wider social and community facilities required in the same area.
  • Ensure provision of appropriate external hard and soft play areas. Roof level amenity space may be considered on tight, urban constrained sites. However, proposals should also endeavour to provide appropriate ground level, accessible amenity spaces.
  • Promote urban typologies for new schools which achieve an efficient use of scarce urban land and successfully address the streetscape or surrounding context.

15.8.4 Childcare

Dublin City Council seeks to ensure that an adequate number of childcare facilities are provided to serve the city’s growing population. In order to meet this objective, one childcare facility (equivalent to a minimum of 20 child spaces) for every 75 dwellings units, shall be provided in all new mixed use and residential schemes.

As part of the community and social audit, an assessment of the childcare facilities in the surrounding 1km radius of the proposed should be included. The analysis should have regard to:

  • The make-up of the proposed residential area, i.e. an estimate of the mix of community that the housing area seeks to accommodate (if an assumption is made that 50 % approximately of the housing area will require childcare, how does the proposal contribute to the existing demand in the area).
  • The number of childcare facilities within walking distance (i.e. 1km) of the proposal.
  • The capacity of each childcare facility and the available capacity by completion of the project.
  • The results of any childcare needs analysis carried out as part of the city childcare strategy or carried out as part of a local or area action plan or as part of the development plan in consultation with the city childcare committees, which will have identified areas already well served or alternatively, gap areas where there is under provision, will also contribute to refining the base figure.


Childcare facilities should also be located in existing residential areas, business/technology parks, industrial estates, areas of employment and within office blocks, with such provision being established having regard to the Dublin City Childcare Committee audit and needs analysis (for full details, see Childcare Facilities, Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2001).        Design Criteria

All childcare facilities are required to provide private outdoor play space or demonstrate safe and easy access to a safe outdoor play area. Such outdoor space should be appropriately located to be protected from air pollution – see objective QHSNO19.

The internal design, layout and size of the childcare facility shall be in accordance with the standards set out in the Childcare Facilities, Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2001.

Safe and secure access should also be provided in terms of pedestrian and cycle movements in association with public transport services in the area. Associated vehicular drop off will also be required in certain locations. This should be accompanied by a traffic and transport assessment which sets out the need to accommodate vehicular movements.

15.8.5 Public Realm

All residential developments that include lands within the public realm must agree, subject to a letter of consent, with the planning authority that the proposed scheme is compliant with the public realm guidance as set out on the Dublin City Council website. https://www.dublincity.ie/residential/planning/strategic-planning/public-realm-strategy

Details of road widths, public footpaths and accessibility can be found in Appendix 5 of the plan.

Where new public spaces that will contribute to the public realm of an area are proposed, applicants must demonstrate that such spaces provide accessibility to all, are easy to navigate and create safe and secure environments. Please see guidance on street furniture, public lighting and accessibility in this regard as set out in Section 15.17.

15.8.6 Public Open Space

Public open space is an external landscaped open space which makes a contribution to the public domain and is accessible to the public and local community for the purposes of active and passive recreation, including relaxation and children’s play. Public open space also provides for visual breaks between and within residential areas and facilitates biodiversity and the maintenance of wildlife habitats.

All residential development is required to provide for public open space. Regard should be had to the guidance set out in Section 15.6.12 above regarding landscaping requirements, and also Section 15.6 on Green Infrastructure.

The public open space requirement for residential developments shall be 10% of the overall site area as public open space.

In the case of residential developments on Z12 and Z15 zoned lands, additional open space is required in order to retain the existing open character of the lands. A total of 25% public open space will be required within these zones.

Table 15-4:      Public Open Space Requirements for Residential Development

Landuse / Zoning

Requirement (minimum)

Residential development (Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4, Z5, Z6, Z8, Z10, Z14)


Residential development (Z12) (Z15)


15.8.7 Financial Contributions in Lieu of Open Space

Public open space will normally be located on-site, however, in some instances it may be more appropriate to seek a financial contribution towards its provision elsewhere in the vicinity. This would include cases where it is not feasible, due to site constraints or other factors, to locate the open space on site, or where it is considered that, having regard to existing provision in the vicinity, the needs of the population would be better served by the provision of a new park in the area (e.g. a neighbourhood park or pocket park) or the upgrading of an existing park.

In these cases, financial contributions may be proposed towards the provision and enhancement of open space and landscape in the locality, as set out in the City Council Parks Programme, in fulfilment of this objective.

Financial contributions in lieu of public open space will only be applicable in schemes of 9 or more units. The details on the value of the contribution in lieu and other exemptions are set out in the Dublin City Section 48 Development Contribution Scheme and any future amendments thereof.

15.8.8 Play Infrastructure

Applications which include the provision of public open space shall be subject to a requirement to provide for appropriate playground facilities. In schemes of 25 or more units, small play spaces of 85-100 sq. m. are considered suitable for toddlers and children up to the age of six, with suitable play equipment, seating for parents/ guardians, and within sight of the apartment building. For larger schemes of 100 or more apartments, play areas of 200-400 sq. m for older children and young teenagers should also be provided in addition.

The Dublin City Play Strategy ‘Pollinating Play!’ 2021 – 2025 will provide overall guidance for the development of playgrounds and play spaces in the city. It is the policy of Dublin City Council to provide accessible and inclusive play equipment and play opportunities for children and young people of all ages.

The following Principles for Designing Successful Play Spaces shall be applied:

  • Bespoke
  • Well-located
  • Use natural elements
  • Wide range of play experiences provided
  • Accessible to both people with and without disabilities
  • Meets community needs
  • Allows children of different ages to play together
  • Builds in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
  • Sustainable and appropriately maintained
  • Allows for change and evolution
  • Invest in and prioritise universal design to support accessible and inclusive opportunities to play with regard to input from relevant representative organisations
  • Increase and enhance passive surveillance.

In deciding on the location of appropriate play areas, regard should be had to the needs of all age groups. Play spaces for small children, i.e. under five years old, should be provided close to residential dwellings, i.e. safe from traffic and other hazards, overlooked informally from dwellings or frequented roads or footpaths, but should be located so that disruption is minimised. These spaces should have sunny and shady parts and be equipped with natural play elements such as logs/tree stumps/sand/water, etc., and with apparatus for swinging, climbing and rocking.

Play/recreational spaces and facilities for older children and teenagers, e.g. multi-use games areas, teenage shelters, skate parks, etc. should be available either within the scheme or close by, such as in a local square or green space where good linkages with the residential development can be created and where meaningful community interaction can take place. Facilities should also be provided for teens and older people where they can congregate while also respecting others. This can be achieved by providing such facilities in well trafficked, central areas of the scheme/ neighbourhood rather than trying to hide them (For further guidance see Urban Design Manual, 2009).

Formal and informal games/recreational areas for parents and other adults should also be integrated within schemes. One of the key aims for any development should be the bringing together of different groups on neutral territory where all can intermingle safely and securely.

Play/recreational spaces should be attractive, safe and engaging. Pedestrianisation in the vicinity of such areas should be maximised, and traffic should be eliminated or traffic-calming measures put in place. In addition, these spaces should be made identifiable by appropriate ‘play’ signage and there should be a network of routes linking homes with these spaces which enable children to travel freely around by foot, bicycle, skates or other wheeled play vehicles.

15.8.9 Naming of Residential Estates

All new street and development names shall reflect local historical, heritage or cultural associations and the basic generic description (i.e., Court, Quay, Road, etc.) must be appropriate.

The planning authority will approve the naming of residential developments in order to avoid confusion with similar names in other locations. Developers shall agree a scheme’s name, which shall be in  the Irish language, with the planning authority, prior to commencement of development, and the name selected shall be installed on site. Internal and external street/road signage must be in both the Irish and English languages, or, for newly named developments, in Irish only. All unit numbers must be visible.

15.8.10         Gated Communities

Dublin City Council will resist gated communities within the city and there is a general presumption against same in order to promote permeability and accessibility in the urban area. Where a gated scheme is proposed, the applicant must demonstrate the operational management strategy for the development and clearly set out the functionality of the gate mechanism proposed. The ongoing management and maintenance of the development will need to be demonstrated to avoid any situations where the mechanism malfunctions.

The applicant will also be required to demonstrate how the gate will function in respect of traffic movements and the potential wait time on the public road. Sufficient car parking will also need to be provided in order to prevent overspill car parking onto the public road.

15.8.11         Management Companies/Taking in Charge

Taking in charge refers to the taking over of the running/maintenance/ownership by a local authority of lands that were developed privately but which have public access and a wider public benefit in their provision. The local authority thereafter looks after these areas for the public. Examples are residential estate roads and public parks. Details of the requirements for taking in charge are provided in Appendix 5 of the plan.

Please also refer to Policy SI26 in relation to taking in charge of public and private drainage infrastructure in accordance with the standards set out within the Greater Dublin Regional Code of Practice for Drainage Works.

15.8.12         Financial Securities

To ensure the satisfactory completion of development, a condition may be attached to a planning permission requiring adequate security to be given until the development has been satisfactorily completed. Types of securities include a cash deposit, an insurance bond or such other liquid asset as may be agreed between a developer and the planning authority. The security may be sequestered in part or in its entirety where the development has not been satisfactorily completed. Dublin City Council will determine the amount of such financial security, in accordance with Development Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DEHLG, 2007) and Circular Letter PL11/2013, and any successor guidance.